August 29, 2011 by Heather
Because I am spending the day applying for jobs at grocery stores and fast food chains, and because it is taking three hours for a load of laundry to dry, and because the forehead region between my eyes is competing with the Rockies for which mountain range is more expansive…
I have decided to share something brilliant with anyone who cares to read about it.
When Mom & Eric were here visiting last month, we went to eat at El Monte Grill one evening.
I had a Mexican-style Macaroni and Cheese dish. I went to their website to get the description of it, BUT IT’S NOT ON THE MENU ANYMORE. What in the world? Well, good thing we went when we did, because it was so delicious.
And I decided, while eating it, that I could very easily recreate the spectacular dish in my own
dorm room home.
After much thought and a little rearranging of my normal mac & cheese recipe, I did it. Make it soon, you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy.
Mexican Mac & Cheese
1/2 lb elbow pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt & pepper (or more, to taste)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 cups (or one bag) fiesta blend cheese
1 small can green chilies, diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced*
half a can of french fried onions
Boil pasta in salted water, drain well. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour, whisking out all the lumps and until it is light brown. Pour in the milk, still whisking, and add in the dry mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Keep whisking for 5-10 minutes or until it is a little thicker. Stir in almost all of the cheese, then add the green chilies and roasted red bell pepper (pretty colors!). When the cheese is all melted, add the pasta and stir gently. Taste it to see if it needs more seasonings.
Pour it all into a buttered casserole dish & top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. When there is 5 minutes left, take it out & throw some french fried onions on top. You can use a whole can if you want, but I try to stretch a can to use for two batches, since it’s like $2. Haha. Put it back in the oven until the onions are browned and everything is bubbly and happy.
Take it out and let it set for 5 minutes, then dig in. It is a fiesta in your mouth.
*How to Roast Your Very Own Red Bell Pepper:
- Turn the oven’s broiler to High. Wash off a red bell pepper, and place on a small baking pan.
- Roast the pepper for about 30-40 minutes, taking it out and turning it (with tongs!) every 10-15 minutes. When one side is blackened, you want to give it a quarter turn. You want the skin good and done-looking.
- When the poor thing looks burnt, take it out and (using your tongs) put it in a bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap.
- Let it sweat and shrivel for about 10 minutes, then take it out and place on a cutting board. Hold on to the stem and, holding a knife flat (like you’re filleting a fish, since I’ve done that so many times), peel off as much skin as you can. It should be cool enough for you to use your hands if you want.
- Cut it in half and scrape out all the seeds. Slice it up and use it then (mac & cheese! pasta! pizza!), or put it in a jar with some oil and refrigerate for later use.
HAPPY MONDAY 🙂 p.s. Anyone get the movie reference in the title?